Topmost Diaspora Nigerian business icons – Alexander Amosu

Mr. Alexander Amosu, a Nigerian luxury product maker, is a Guinness Book of Records breaker in luxury designs. He is the designer of the world’s most expensive suit, sold to an anonymous buyer at a private party in London at a whopping price of £70,000.

The suit, which was presented in London in 2009, was transported to the venue in an armoured Range Rover car and described as a one-off creation made from the finest fabrics in the world and took over 80 hours to complete with over 5,000 individual stitches.

The world’s most luxurious suit, dubbed Vanquish II, was made with materials that included wool from vicuña – a rare wild South American animal related to the camel, which only produces enough wool for shearing every three years.

Another wool used to make the suit was qiviuk, said to be the world’s most expensive wool gathered from the Arctic musk ox (a large heavily built goat-antelope with a thick shaggy coat and a horny protuberance on the head, native to the tundra of North America and Greenland.

The vicuña and musk ox’s wool were said to be blended with pashmina (shawl made from fine-quality goat’s wool) from the high mountain plateaus of the Himalayas. Crowning the luxury creation are the suit’s buttons, which were made of 18-carat solid gold and diamonds.

The luxury designer and entrepreneur also has to his name a £240,000 Diamond Encrusted BlackBerry Curve 8900 that is ranked the world’s most expensive BlackBerry. He is also credited with producing the world’s most expensive champagne.

He has created exclusive luxury phone designs for Motorola, Apple and Samsung. He is the designer of 100 limited edition diamond key necklaces sold to A-list celebrities, including Alicia Keys, 50 Cent, Lewis Hamilton and Chris Brown in collaboration with Russell Simmons Jewellery in the United States.

Amosu’s big idea began with a basic Nokia 3210 mobile phone of the 1990s with a limited range of ringtones. Amosu explored the option to add personal ringtones, using differing key tones and combinations.

In seeking ringtones that reflect the individual’s personality, he composed the polyphonic version of a Jay-Z song. This opened for him a door to customise handsets and other electronic products, including iPhones and iPads for people and companies.

Entrepreneurial skill and determination combined with passion for technology lifted Amosu’s company – Rnbringtones to become the UK’s No.1 provider of ringtones and graphics. He ranked number 98 in the UK’s most powerful British business people in technology & telecoms by The Telegraph. He also featured in the Sunday Times ‘top 40 under 40’ in the UK.

Taping on the momentum, Amosu expanded into the luxury portfolio with sales of fashion and technology products under his Alexander Amosu brand. Today, he is reputed for luxury products that command some of the world’s wealthiest clientele.

He grew up in London as an immigrant where he tasted life without luxuries that are available to others and struggled to break free from it. His entrepreneurial spirit began to burn quite early in life at the age of 12, finding its first expression in taking up a newspaper round in his local area, delivering newspapers for £10-a-week.

He raised the stakes and set target for income growth engaging hands to increase the newspaper round and by investing his savings in other ventures. At 16, he started a DJ group called Shadow King, charging £250 for services in homes and clubs. He desired to work on a more sustainable business that had the potential to scale and the inspiration came while yet at college from an unexpected £20 pay for a house cleaning work for his aunt – the going rate for cleaners.

He quickly wrote a business plan for a cleaning company called Home Care Cleaning Agency at the age of 19. Within a week, he had created a logo, printed business cards and delivered flyers offering cleaning services in his locality.

His experience with the first customer for the cleaning job was a disappointment, as he was turned away for his casual wears. That provided a learning curve for him on the essentials of taking due steps to make clients feel confident and develop a sense of trust. At his next assignment, he went all out to demonstrate a sense of composure and reliability that earned him the job.

Soon after, he secured an impressive 12 commercial contracts for office cleaning. The business began to generate a healthy income, turning over £1,500 per week with four employees on the job.

After researching the ringtone industry in 1999, he spotted a gap in ringtone market – which had no providers for the hip-hop genre that was increasingly gaining mainstream popularity. He launched his company, Rnbringtones, the first urban ringtones company in Europe.

In four months, the operation scaled from a council flat bedroom to an office in North London, with 21 staff selling thousands of ringtones. At the end of the first year, the company had turned over £1.6 million, scurrying up to over £6.6 million in the fourth year.

As competition grew, he planned an exit and eventually sold the company to a German telecoms company for £9 million in 2004.

Amosu’s current businesses include the Alexander Amosu brand, Mind of an Entrepreneur, a property portfolio worth over £12 million and Lux Afrique – the first pan African lifestyle and concierge service company that offers a variety of services to high-net-worth personalities in Africa. His mission with Lux Afrique is ensuring that Africa’s high net worth individuals get the level of service they deserve globally and also get the tips on finances in order to build generational wealth.

In a move to establish operations in Africa in 2012, he launched Kamson Luxury Group, acquiring luxury brands to launch in Africa. His first acquisition was Ok! Magazine – the world’s biggest celebrity magazine. He also launched a cigar business in 2018, placing his name on the first African owed cigar company.

Amosu studied Aeronautics at South Bank University, Computer Aided Engineering at the Queen Mary of Westfield University and Sound Engineering at University of North London. He holds an honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration at London Metropolitan University.

He has spoken at a number of globally events. In 2018, he shared the stage with other thought leaders at London Business School on an entrepreneurship panel.